Domestic or emotional abuse can be just as stressful and intolerable to live with as acts of violent behaviour. Examples can include a wide range of controlling behaviour, such as humiliation, psychological harassment, shouting, bullying, belittling, condescending behaviour etc. In fact, the definition of domestic violence has recently been updated to include reference to emotional abuse.
The following Orders can be obtained from the Court to provide the necessary protection from the offender:
Molestation can include pestering, harassing and intimidating behaviour. These types of Orders specifically prevent certain types of behaviour from occurring. For example, contact either directly, indirectly or via third party. This can include contact by telephone, text messages, letters, e-mail and other forms of social media such as facebook and twitter. Orders can be obtained preventing the other party from attending places of work or going within a certain distance of it.
Applications for both Occupation and Non-Molestation Orders can be made on an emergency interim basis with the other party being unaware that the application is being made.
These orders can decide on an interim basis, who is allowed to occupy i.e. live in the family home. Such an order can successfully remove the “violent” or “emotional abuser” from the home should they be unwilling to leave voluntarily. Occupation orders are usually made for a period of between six to twelve months or can be made until “further order of the court”, should there be outstanding court proceedings which need to be dealt with. Occupation orders can specify additional provisions such as:
- When the offender is to leave. This is often within a matter of hours of the court hearing or on occasions, immediately thereafter.
- The offender is prevented from returning to that property, within a specified distance of it, or excluded from a broader area.
- Additional provisions can be sought to ensure the excluded party has to continue to pay for any mortgage or rent.
- Powers of arrest can be attached to orders preventing the excluded party from returning, which enables the police to have the power to act.
Protection from Harassment Act
This Act can provide similar remedies for those suffering from domestic violence but where parties are not necessarily married but have an “association” with each other.
Should you be in the unfortunate circumstance of being a victim of either domestic violence or any form of harassment, you should consult a solicitor to see what remedies may be available to assist you and provide you with the appropriate protection.